A single absent tooth can diminish even the most beautiful of smiles. Fortunately, that beauty can be easily restored with the help of a dental bridge. Cosmetic dental bridges are constructed of natural, tooth-colored materials like porcelain.
When placed by a qualified professional, a dental bridge will flawlessly take the place of a tooth lost by injury, decay or gum disease.
Essentially, a dental bridge can be an option to replace an area where a tooth is missing. The bridge closes the “gap” or space where the tooth or teeth are missing.
Not just placed for aesthetic reasons, dental bridges preserve the integrity of your remaining teeth and assist your mouth’s structure to support a healthier oral environment. When teeth are lost, the use of a dental bridge keeps the resulting gaps in the mouth from causing teeth to shift, and your jaw from developing issues.
The most popular and common construction of a dental bridge is the fixed version. This involves a pontic, or filler tooth or teeth, that is attached to a dental crown on either side.
The crowns are used to anchor the bridge. Once placed, the bridge is permanently bonded into the mouth to make it secure.
A cantilever bridge is used most often when there are teeth on only one side of the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. The usual three-unit cantilever dental bridge is made up of two dental crowns right next to each other instead of one on either side of the filler tooth.
The filler tooth, or pontic, is then attached to the end so that it will extend into the empty space created by the missing tooth.
No, not the state! This dental bridge design is created via a composite bond. Used most often to replace front teeth, the filler tooth or teeth are attached to “wings” that are bonded to the neighboring teeth on either side from the back side, so they are hidden from view.
This is a great option for kids finishing with orthodontic treatment and not quite ready for dental implants.
Dental bridges typically need a couple appointments with your dentist. During the first visit, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the neighboring teeth. Then your dentist will prepare the neighboring teeth by removing decay that is present and reduce them so dental crowns can be fitted over the top of them.
Next, your dentist will make a digital mold of your teeth to fabricate the bridge and finally, you will be fitted with a temporary dental bridge created from a tooth colored plastic resin material.
The mold will be sent to a dental lab to have a custom bridge made. This may take up to 3 weeks to complete and send back to your dentist.
At the second visit, your cosmetic dentist will remove the temporary resin bridge and replace it with the new customized ceramic bridge version. Your dentist will make adjustments to the new bridge to produce a proper bite pattern and fit. After that, the bridge will be permanently bonded to your teeth.
Replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge should make eating food much easier. As a precaution, it’s a good idea to focus on softer foods cut into smaller pieces until you’ve had a chance to get used to the bridge
To give your new bridge the best chance at success, it is crucial to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong. A large part of your bridges longevity relies on the solid foundation provided by its surrounding teeth.
Keep to the regular routine of brushing twice a day and flossing each night as well as using an antiseptic mouthwash. This will go a long way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to additional tooth loss. If you’re not sure, your dentist or dental hygienist can instruct you on the best way to properly brush and floss your teeth.
Additionally, maintaining your regular checkups and professional cleanings will aid in catching and treating issues at an early stage when there is a better chance of an easy solution. By following these steps, your dental bridge can last up to 15 years. When a good oral care program and regular exams are maintained, the life span of a bridge can extend at least 10 years or more.
If you think you may be a good candidate for a dental bridge, call our office today to set up a consultation appointment.